The Basics of Balding: Androgenic Alopecia

Balding and hair loss aren’t just issues for men — women, too, experience the condition known as alopecia, the general term for hair loss. Androgenic alopecia, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of alopecia and it is most prevalent among men.

What Is Androgenic Alopecia?

Androgenic alopecia is called male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness; it is often referred to as female diffuse hair loss when it occurs in women.

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The most common symptoms of androgenic alopecia are:

  • For men, hair loss at both the hairline and on the crown of the head, often resulting in a noticeable “M” shape on the forehead caused by a receding hairline
  • For women, a gradual process of hair loss, resulting in thinner hair overall, but without the receding hairline experienced by men

Androgenic alopecia only causes hair loss on the head, not on other parts of the body.

Anyone can get androgenic alopecia, but men experience about 60 percent of the cases, accounting for 35 million men in the United States alone. After the age of 50, more than half of all men have androgenic alopecia to some degree. In women with androgenic alopecia, it most commonly strikes after menopause — affecting up to 40 percent of post-menopausal women by some estimates; it is rare younger in life.

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